Aircel-Maxis case: Aircel 2G customers may have to port to other operators, if SC rules adverse

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To avoid the catastrophe if Supreme Court cancels Aircel's 2G spectrum license, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked the operator to prepare its 2G subscribers port to other operators.

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The new directive will affect only the 2G mobile subscribers of Aircel in fourteen telecom circle.

The case relates to alleged irregularities in the Aircel-Maxis deal and the grant of 2G spectrum licence in 2006.

DoT on January 18 wrote to Aircel saying the available facility of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) can be exercise by the subscribers provisionally.

"Accordingly, Aircel/Dishnet Wireless Ltd is hereby directed to take necessary action well in advance to inform all existing subscribers through SMS to avail the Mobile Number Portability facility provisionally for continuity of their mobile service, in case the Hon'ble Supreme Court passes the proposed order, to avoid any inconvenience," it said. DoT said the restraint is for use of 2G spectrum originally granted to Aircel Telecommunications in November 2006.

DoT also asked sectoral regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to take necessary action in this regard.

It asked Trai to "issue suitable directions/regulations for MNP process" to Aircel addressing the probable porting issues like generation of large number of Unique Porting Code (UPC) to cater to subscribers in the 2G service areas, increase in validity of UPC code, relaxation of rejection porting clause of 90-days, etc to make the MNP process convenient for the consumers.

The DoT asked both Aircel and Trai to inform it about the action taken by January 27 so that it can intimate the Supreme Court.

Earlier this month, the apex court had proposed to cancel the 2G licence granted to Aircel if the owner of Maxis, the Malaysia-based Anantha Krishnan, who bought the majority shares of the Indian telecom company, and his one-time key aide and Director Augustus Ralph Marshal fail to present themselves before it.

Proposing to cancel the licence, the court said Krishnan and Marshal would not be allowed to frustrate the due course of law by avoiding to appear before the court.

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